Ah, the Ketogenic Diet. Everyone’s heard of it by now, mostly by its affectionate nickname “keto.” Even if you haven’t personally tried it, chances are you know someone who has or is currently trying it. It promises powerful (and often quick) results and if you’re someone who is partial to eating fatty cuts of meat like bacon, all the better, since the cornerstone of the diet is HIGH FAT, moderate protein and very little in the way of carbohydrates.
The Ketogenic Diet from an Ayurvedic Perspective
Ayurveda is ultimately about achieving balance. There are many facets to Ayurveda, including figuring out your dosha, which you can read about here. But to simplify, Ayurveda is all about finding and creating balance in body, mind and spirit with your environment and with the foods that you eat. A lot of Ayurvedic principals help to guide your food choices and that’s where we can work keto (or other diets) into the mix. I knew my Kapha dosha was out feeling out of balance and because I’m always on a quest for greater wellness and optimal health and beauty, I decided to try this way of eating which promised powerful anti-inflammatory benefits, regulating blood sugar, satiety all the while and even some purported mental health benefits.
Taking Wellness into my own Hands
Food and diet have always been something I’ve experimented with on my quest to wellness. The older you get, the more you realize in a very tangible way, that what you put in to your body, very much makes a difference in how you look and feel. The drinks with dinner that had zero visible impact in your 20’s, now show up in puffy eyes and a general malaise the next morning. Over the years, I’ve been a fruitarian (30 days of just fruits!), a vegan for a time, I’ve done a 21 day water-only fast at an Ayurvedic retreat, and I was a vegetarian for the better part of a decade. Knowing that there is no ONE formula for anyone to follow, I’ve always been curious to see how my body does on something new, something different, to see and experience first hand how my body feels.
The Ketogenic diet was probably the hardest for my carbohydrate loving soul- even harder than water fasting. Because as any true lover of carbohydrates will tell you, if I can’t have rice or bread- I’d rather not eat at all. Also, harking back to my decade long vegetarianism, even though I have now incorporated meat back into my diet, it’s still not my go-to food. I like to eat meat maybe twice a week or so, certainly not daily and definitely not at EVERY meal. Also, I’m one of those people who has never liked bacon, so there’s that. Basically, it took steely-determination on my part to try this way of eating and something about the challenge of such militant discipline really does it for me. I’ve learned about myself that I like the challenge and wanted to see if I was capable.
Over the 30 days, a lot of eggs, salsa & sour cream were consumed. A lot of cheese was had. Lattes were made with full cream instead of milk. Butter was used generously. It was boring. It was hard. Walking around New York City, my nose seemed to pick up the smell of every slice of pizza; every cookie being baked and every donut being fried. I avoided dinners out because I didn’t trust myself and all the while, I felt . . . pretty great- which was the only reason I was able to forge on. I was barely hungry, my clothes were looser immediately and even though eating eggs again and again wasn’t exciting for my inner chef, there was something simple and spartan about not having to think about what I was going to eat that was nice. I definitely saved a lot of money on food and in the end, lost 10 pounds to boot.
Reset and Rebalance
It’s been several weeks since, and yes, the weight has stayed off. And actually, a lot of the habits I picked up during the 30 days on keto, have continued to influence my food choices today. I’m now very sensitive to sugar and don’t crave it as much, so unless I’m specifically craving that bread- I don’t just mindlessly add it to my meal anymore. I really enjoyed how my body and mind felt on Keto and think that if I have to do it for 30 days at a time- take a break and go back to it for another 30 days- it’s something that’s worth it for me.
Because of the ketogenic diet, I no longer feel like I’m ever compulsively or mindlessly eating- which is something I tend to do with carbohydrate foods and never with just eggs for example. I’m also much more aware of how my body feels after I’ve eaten something, as well as re-learned when my body is actually hungry, and prior to keto I hadn’t even realized I was disconnected from my body in this way.
In the end, the Ketogenic diet has been a great reset to get me back to balance with food and it might do the same for you, if like me, you feel you’ve spun a bit out of control.